Authors: Ermayanti, TM; Mukhsia, A

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Ermayanti, TM & Mukhsia, A 2012, 'Applications of tissue culture for the production of native plant species to accelerate the Alpine Reclamation Programme at PT Freeport, Indonesia', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2012: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 507-516,

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Tissue culture is a tool for the large-scale production of genetically identical plants for many species and for in vitro conservation of native, endemic and rare species. This technique has several advantages over conventional propagation methods, since tissue culture can provide transplants independently of seasonal conditions, and mass production will be more effective because it is carried out in a laboratory. The mass production of transplants is very important to support the reclamation program at Grasberg mining area in Papua (PT Freeport Indonesia). The reclamation area is located at 4,100–4,300 m asl. Only subalpine and alpine plant species grow in this area. As the Grasberg mine undergoes transition from open pit to underground operations in 2016, more areas will be available to be reclaimed. The total area that has been reclaimed as of December 2011 is 200 ha, and about 637 additional ha will be reclaimed up to 2020. A single ha requires 2,500 clumps of transplants, and thus 1.6 million clumps of transplants are required up to year 2020. Currently, the primary means of plant establishment is transplanting of native grasses, shrubs and ferns harvested from the surrounding, relatively undisturbed areas and from previously planted areas that serve as a plant source. The grasses and shrubs are divided and replanted in pots at the Grasberg nursery, acclimated to conditions, then transplanted onto the overburden stockpiles. Due to the increase of the reclamation area every year, establishment of tissue culture for mass micropropagation will contribute significantly to the reclamation program. The feasibility of tissue culture for several native plant species has been demonstrated. In the lowland laboratory, two selected plant species, namely the grasses Tetramolopium klossii and Deschampsia klossii have successfully been propagated on MS medium to produce with a high rate of shoot multiplication. Media containing plant growth regulators (cytokinins) increased the rate of shoot multiplications. These shoots are now maintained in the rooting medium and will soon be ready for acclimatisation. The protocol of mass production of transplants will also be applied for other native plant species selected for the revegetation program. The establishment of a tissue culture laboratory is now in progress at the high-altitude site of reclamation at Grasberg, so that the production of transplants is expected to begin this year. Since only native subalpine and alpine plant species can grow in the reclamation area, this laboratory will be beneficial to provide transplants to accelerate the reclamation program at PT Freeport Indonesia.

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